Resistance to Wind Development – Really? Not in My Back Yard…
November 9, 2010
Despite the fashionable meme going around about public resistance to wind farms, the reality is, that is for the most part a shuck and a sham. Outside of a few well publicized instances of NIMBY (Not In My BackYard) movements around wind development – by far public reaction has been more of the PPIIMBY (Please Put It In My Back Yard) variety.
Here in Michigan, one of the primary epicenters of onshore wind development, the agricultural thumb region, has seen several medium sized wind farms already, and is gearing up for even larger developments. A referendum in last week’s election asked voters if they approved of new development in the Huron County area, and voters responded with a 59 percent approval.
According to the Bay City Times, “It’s the first voter referendum in this region for wind energy: Most people who would live in and around these giant turbines are solidly in favor of them.”
Given the general conservative turnout in the election, and very conservative, (this is a hotbed of the Michigan Militia) traditional character of the thumb’s small, tightly knit communities, this is all the more impressive.
The Times notes that this bodes well for a much larger facility recently announced in the Breckenridge area, to the west, in Michigan’s central region.
“There, a Chicago group aims to build Michigan’s largest wind turbine farm, with 125 of them, and sell the electricity they generate to DTE Energy of Detroit. The project was announced with no fuss, mainly because community leaders in Gratiot County had done their homework, and had spent several years laying the regulatory and popular opinion groundwork for future wind developers.
In Gratiot County, people see the local benefits, including farmland lease payments to land owners and hundreds of thousands of dollars more in tax revenues for the local school district. Jobs will include temporary work for 150 people to erect the turbines, and 15 long-term maintenance positions.”
The people who have had a good chance to take a look at wind development up close, and are generally for it. This can only be good news for this region, and the country at large.